Tesla opens doors in Beijing
Updated: 2013-11-05 07:11
By Li Fangfang and Du Xiaoying (China Daily USA)
US electric carmaker Tesla Motors opened its first showroom in China over the weekend, taking pre-orders from customers at its Beijing location.
Located on the East Third Ring Road, the showroom opened its doors to the public on Saturday, displaying two Tesla Model S four-door sports cars, one black and one white.
"We have seen roaring interest since the pre-order started in late August," Ma Li, a product specialist, said. "The intended buyers can sign a pre-order contract and put down a 250,000 yuan ($40,000) deposit to add their names to the waiting list."
Information released by the company is that its planned allotment of 100 cars for the China market will quickly sell out.
Still awaiting government approval for the import and sale of Tesla electric cars, Ma told China Daily that potential customers in China may have to wait until next year for the first batch of Model S cars to arrive.
"The price tag for the various models may stand between 900,000 yuan ($146,000) and 1.2 million yuan ($195,500)," Ma said, adding that if customers are not satisfied, they can get their deposit back.
The Model S is selling in the US at prices ranging from $70,000 to $100,000.
According to the California New Car Dealers Association, in the first half of 2013, Tesla stood up against luxury brands such as Porsche, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar in that state - home to the biggest luxury car market in the US - with 4,714 new Teslas registered.
The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company said it expects sales to reach 20,000 cars in 2013 and to double to 40,000 in 2014.
"Tesla has a unique positioning in the automobile market, as a big, green toy for the rich," said Zhang Junyi, auto analyst with Roland Berger Strategy Consultants.
That's not only in the US. He said he recently heard that an entrepreneur from Jinhua, Zhejiang province, had ordered one.
Zhong Shi, an independent auto analyst based in Beijing, agreed with Zhang: "There will always be wealthy people who want to try the latest thing."
Zhong said that its luxury styling, fancy interior, intelligent control, trendy reputation and high performance will help make the Tesla Model S an inviting plaything for Chinese moguls.
"Compared to the millions of yuan price of super sports cars, the cost of the Model S is reasonable and competitive for those who want an eye-catching trophy," added Zhang.
"Tesla is perfect for the conspicuous consumer of luxury goods."
He predicted that the popularity of Tesla as a niche market for the rich will help widen the acceptability of electric vehicles in China and speed the establishment of infrastructure for them.
Though Zhong said he believes Tesla's sales in China likely won't reach four digits in the near future.
In his view, what suits the Chinese market more is a smaller electric vehicle with low to medium speed, intelligent functions and trendy design.
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Visitors at Tesla Motors' Beijing store. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company expects sales to reach 20,000 cars in 2013 and to double to 40,000 in 2014. Feng Yongbin / China Daily
(China Daily USA 11/05/2013 page1)